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Sunday Morning News

Same-Sex Marriage Legalized in Amsterdam

Aired April 1, 2001 - 8:40 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Now to a victory for hundreds of thousands of gay couples in Amsterdam. A Dutch law now allows same sex marriages, and today four couples became the world's first homosexuals to legally wed.

CNN's Jennifer Eccleston has more on the nuptials.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A predawn wedding in Amsterdam City Hall, just moments after landmark legislation on same-sex marriages took effect in the Netherlands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Netherlands has come that far, that gay couples can do a civil marriage. But we want to show the world that it's very important to us and we hope that also other countries will follow this country.

ECCLESTON: Holland, long among the gay rights vanguard, enacted a bill last year converting the countries registered same-sex partnerships into full-fledged marriages.

Same-sex couples now have the same legal status as heterosexuals. They can divorce legally, claim pensions and other benefits, and adopt Dutch children. The couples are barred from adopting children overseas because of potential objections from countries that do not accept gay marriages.

Under the new legislation, all references to gender in laws governing matrimony and adoption will be deleted in favor of the neutral-gender term, partner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a very, very special. We are, of course, nervous. But it's so special to be together in there with all the other couples.

ECCLESTON: While the law passed with a substantial majority in both Houses of Parliament last September, a number of Christian parties and religious groups opposed the legislation.

In 1989, Denmark became the first country in the world to offer official recognition of same-sex couples, doing so in the form of registered partnership. Several countries have followed suit to varying degrees, such as France, Sweden and Brazil. Only Dutch nationals or resident aliens living with a Dutch partner will be eligible for same-sex marriage.

Jennifer Eccleston, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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